Colorful Father's Day cards convey all sorts of messages to dads, grandfathers, godfathers, mentors and more, men in our lives who have guided us and given their love. One special hand-made card touched my heart this year. No baseball glove or fishing rod. No Teddy bear or generic sentiment. This one had a special purpose that greeting card companies could not provide.
Our 10-year-old granddaughter, Jennaya, sat down and quickly took her colored pencils. She drew a picture of herself and her grandfather, my husband, Burton, side-by-side but with a line in between. On one side was her grandfather lying on his bed in a local cancer center receiving his daily 8-week treatment. Above him was the word, "Radiation." On her side she drew herself lying in her bed at the University Children's Hospital in Iowa City, attached to a machine. Above her was the word "Remicade," the medicine infused into her body for 4.5 hours at a time every few weeks for her Crohn's disease. (Jennaya remembered to put a series of dots under each word representing the Braille she had noticed in hospital corridors beneath words.)
Both grandfather and granddaughter had big smiles on their faces. Jennaya composed this message, written in red letters: "If you can do it, I can do it, and if I can do it, you can do it! Happy Father's Day. Jennaya."
Mutual support. Unconditional love. Trust.
Who is weak? Who is strong? Fathers and grandfathers can share their weaknesses, too. Whatever age, we can care for and support one another. Jennaya and her grandfather give each other courage.
One more thing: Relationships themselves can be transformed. No matter what the nature of our human relationships, we are transformed across generations, across the miles, around the world, connected in order to love and support one another on Father's Day and every week of the year in times of health or sickness. What a gift!
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